Where did you come up with the idea for the plot of Trace of Doubt?
Great question! The plot came from a what-if moment. What if a teen loved her older pregnant sister so much that she’d confess to murdering her brother-in-law, a crime she didn’t commit?
Can you tell us about some of the research that went into writing about the legal situations involved in Trace of Doubt, especially as it relates to what it’s like for ex-convicts (particularly women) to work toward rebuilding their lives?
The research focused on women’s prisons in Texas. Many have solid programs to help the inmates learn skills to make a transition into public life. But that doesn’t mean every guard has the best intentions. Gangs exist alongside solid Bible studies and counseling. The success of a woman’s rehabilitation depends on her commitment to better herself and learn from past mistakes.
Tell us about some of the core themes you discuss in this novel. How can your readers relate to these areas in their own lives?
Forgiveness: the hero and heroine struggled to forgive themselves for disappointing their families. For the heroine: manipulation under the guise of love caused her to nearly destroy her life.
Love is a powerful emotion that can be used against us if we allow another person to lie, deceive, and betray us. – DiAnn Mills
What do you enjoy most in writing about the work of the FBI?
I enjoy creating authentic characters who mirror the FBI’s mission to keep people safe and prevent crime while showing their human strengths and challenges.
How does faith play a role in the story?
The heroine became a Christian at the lowest point of her life. Prison life resulted in deep depression but opened her heart to faith. Shelby lived her life from that moment on, no matter how difficult, with Jesus as her Lord and Savior.
What inspired the personality traits of your main characters, Shelby Pearce and Denton McClure?
Shelby: a strong woman who’d been manipulated and betrayed. Yet she found faith and faced the horror of her mistakes. Denton McClure: an FBI agent who stepped up to the role with bravery and determination but believed in the eyes of his family he was a failure.
What was your favorite scene to write in Trace of Doubt?
My favorite scene is Shelby’s confession to her friends what really happened to her brother-in-law.
What are you most excited for your readers to experience through reading this novel?
Love is a powerful emotion that can be used against us if we allow another person to lie, deceive, and betray us.
Can you tell us about some future projects you’re working on?
I’m currently editing a romantic suspense novel in which a young woman fears her highly respected and beloved grandfather may have committed murder.
The Book | Trace of Doubt
Bestselling and award-winning author DiAnn Mills delivers a heart-stopping story of dark secrets, desperate enemies, and dangerous lies.
Fifteen years ago, Shelby Pearce confessed to murdering her brother-in-law and was sent to prison. Now she’s out on parole and looking for a fresh start in the small town of Valleysburg, Texas. But starting over won’t be easy for an ex-con. FBI Special Agent Denton McClure was a rookie fresh out of Quantico when he was first assigned the Pearce case. He’s always believed Shelby embezzled five hundred thousand dollars from her brother-in-law’s account. So he’s going undercover to befriend Shelby, track down the missing money, and finally crack this case.
But as Denton gets closer to Shelby, he begins to have a trace of doubt about her guilt. Someone has Shelby in their crosshairs. It’s up to Denton to stop them before they silence Shelby—and the truth—forever.
The Author | DiAnn Mills
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne du Maurier, Inspirational Reader’s Choice, and Carol Award contests. Firewall, the first book in her FBI: Houston series, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best Christian fiction books of 2014. Connect with DiAnn at diannmills.com.